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Focus on employee health and see an increase in productivity

A survey of executives at large corporations, conducted by CoreNet Global and CBRE Group, Inc., has found that when a company focuses on employee health and wellness, there is an increase in engagement and retention rates and a decline in absenteeism.

“Corporations that take an active role in managing health and wellness programs for employees are seeing positive returns on those investments,” said Tim Venable, Senior Vice President at CoreNet Global, a leading professional association serving the corporate real estate profession. “As the line between work and personal life is increasingly blurred due to technology, remote work, and 24/7 access to information, employers are taking measures to ensure employee health and wellness.”

Components of a successful wellness program

The survey saw responses from 211 senior level executives in the corporate real estate profession: 66 percent were corporate real estate end-users (occupiers), 25 percent were in technology firms, and 23 percent were in financial services firms. Eighty-nine percent of the firms represented in the survey reported that they are focused on health and wellness initiatives.

The respondents ranked wellness design and construction elements in the following order of importance:

  • ergonomic furniture,
  • lighting quality,
  • daylight and views,
  • thermal comfort, and
  • air quality.

Other features that companies are offering include:

  • operating gyms, health clubs, and wellness clinics,
  • implementing green cleaning standards,
  • managing a bike share program,
  • changing food options and vendors, and
  • offering fitness challenges, yoga classes, mental relaxation, and group meditation.

Ninety percent of the firms surveyed have either implemented or are piloting active design—that is, buildings that encourage physical activity—and a similar percentage have either piloted or are implementing workplace designs that offer and encourage employees to work from multiple areas.

Wellness works

According to the survey, when companies have focused on wellness efforts with specific goals, the efforts have paid off. Nineteen percent of respondents reported a decrease in absenteeism, 25 percent reported increased retention, and 47 percent reported increased employee engagement.

“Employee Health and Wellness is no longer a programmatic afterthought; rather it’s a deliberate workplace strategy that top employers are addressing at all project stages—from idea conception through space delivery and management,” said Julie Whelan, Head of Americas Occupier Research at CBRE.

Matt Toner, Managing Director of the CBRE Institute, added, “This increased focus is tied to a clear ROI for the business, where even small yet targeted adjustments in CRE capital and operating strategies have proven to increase employee engagement, productivity, and retention rates—each of which supports the longevity of organizational success and profitability.”

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